As threats of starvation and conflict receded, colonial society stabilized.
In 1634, a new English colony was founded in the
northern Chesapeake, at a place the settlers named St. Mary’s City. Like Virginia, Maryland’s first years were fragile. But, at St. Mary’s City, the colonists planted crops immediately and established peaceful relations with the local Indians. Maryland also prospered from the tobacco trade, but it differed from Virginia in another respect. The English crown granted the land to a Roman Catholic—Cecil Calvert, Lord Baltimore. Maryland had no established state religion.
But in 1688, a revolution in England overthrew James II. The Calverts’ charter ended: Maryland became a royal colony. Its capital moved to Annapolis in 1695. Religious tolerance ended. St. Mary’s City was abandoned and turned into farmland. Its rural setting helped to preserve the fragile ruins of the early settlement under a thin layer of plowed soil.
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